February 24, 2020 | (4) Comments

In honor of American Heart Month, I’d like to tell you about Marcus Banda, a young man who was born with congestive heart failure.

At just 6 months old, Marcus was referred to Texas Children’s Heart Center where he was diagnosed with a condition requiring open heart surgery and annual follow-up visits with our cardiology team.

Thanks to the care of our congenital heart surgeons and cardiologists, Marcus is now a healthy 19 year old who firmly believes if he and his family had not wound up at Texas Children’s, he might not have made it.

Patients like Marcus come to Texas Children’s Heart Center every day in hopes of getting answers to their often complex medical needs. We welcome them and their families with open arms, and we are more often than not, able to help them due to our more than half a century of experience and expertise in caring for children’s hearts.

Ranked No. 1 in the nation by U.S. News & World Report, Texas Children’s Heart Center sees more than 23,000 patients and performs more than 800 surgeries a year. Our Heart Center physicians and surgeons, and academic faculty at Baylor College of Medicine, are world-renowned leaders in pediatric cardiology, congenital heart surgery, cardiovascular anesthesiology and cardiac intensive care.

Our path to helping so many children with complex congenital heart conditions began shortly after Texas Children’s opened its doors in 1954. From the start, we were paving the way in pediatric cardiology and heart surgery, pioneering many of the now-standard procedures and therapies related to the diagnosis and treatment of children with cardiac problems.

As a leader in cardiology and heart surgery, we are committed to setting a new standard for the treatment of children and adults with congenital heart disease, and to continue developing innovative therapies for patients with these conditions.

One important part of our current and future efforts is our Adult Congenital Heart Disease Program. Led by esteemed cardiologist Dr. Peter Ermis as medical director, and Dr. Edward Hickey, a leading cardiovascular surgeon as surgical director, the program enables patients with congenital heart disease to receive seamless continuation of care from birth throughout adulthood.

As pediatric patients with congenital heart defects transition into adulthood, our multidisciplinary team of specialists advises patients on health and lifestyle choices for their adult needs. The hospital’s ACHD Program is accredited by the Adult Congenital Heart Association (ACHA) and is one of only three accredited programs in Texas.

Each year, more than 2,000 adults with congenital heart disease are seen in our clinic – in fact, our oldest current patient is 86 years old. This number is quickly growing and we are ready to accommodate all patients and walk hand-in-hand with them through adulthood.

Marcus is on his way to being one of these patients. His care team at the Heart Center are transitioning him into our ACHD program, where he will be cared for by experts who understand congenital heart disease and the complications it can cause in adults. Best of all, Marcus doesn’t have to leave Texas Children’s and those who have cared for him since he was a baby just because he reached a certain age.

This continuation of care is a relief to Marcus and his family. To me, it’s the right thing to do – a mantra we live by here at Texas Children’s. Doing the right thing for our patients and our families is our main goal and I appreciate everyone’s efforts in the Heart Center and across the organization in keeping this top of mind and at the core of everything you do.

April 1, 2019 | (0) Comments

At Texas Children’s, time goes by fast. We move at a quick pace because of the nature of our jobs and our never-ending drive to carry out our mission of creating a healthier future for children and women.

As a result, we often forget to pause and reflect on what we have done to help those who seek our care. Before you know it another year has passed and with it, a host of accomplishments, victories and steps forward.

Fortunately, Texas Children’s produces an annual report each year spotlighting the breadth, depth and growth of our organization. The online report — full of compelling stories, videos and graphics about our patients, staff, clinical programs and expanding facilities — reaches tens of thousands of people across the globe.

I am happy to announce that the 2018 Texas Children’s Annual Report went live this week and is a dynamic representation of our growth and success last year. Titled “We’ve never been better,” this year’s website illustrates in a special section the opening of the Lester and Sue Smith Legacy Tower — our new home for heart, intensive care and surgery. With more than 640,000 square feet of space, Smith Legacy Tower will help us continue to serve our patients and their families, particularly those who are critically ill and have complex medical needs.

Each section of the Annual Report website — News, Notes and Numbers — gives readers an opportunity to experience how and why Texas Children’s health care system continues to set records organization wide. I’ve shared a few of these incredible accomplishments in a video so you can see some of our 2018 highlights.

For me, the Annual Report is a purposeful walk down memory lane that never fails to inspire me with renewed vigor and dedication to our mission. It’s also an opportunity to share the progress Texas Children’s has made over the course of a year with those who might need our care, want to collaborate with us or be part of our team.

Read all about it at texaschildrensannualreport.org. Share the link to the online report with friends and colleagues, and encourage them to do the same.

As you will see, 2018 was a remarkable year for Texas Children’s. We’ve truly never been better!

August 20, 2018 | (0) Comments

Almost a year ago today, Texas Children’s faced one of the worst weather disasters in U.S. history – Hurricane Harvey. The storm dumped more than 50 inches of rain across the Greater Houston area, submerging parts of the city under record-setting flood waters. The storm lasted a solid week as it made landfall twice, once as a Category 4 storm and then again as a Category 3 hurricane. Sadly, some lives were lost in the storm. And others were forever altered.

As I look back on that harrowing time, I remain thankful that Texas Children’s weathered the storm without significant damage, and I am so proud of our one amazing team for its commitment to keeping our organization and people strong. Because of our resilience, we were able to help our existing patients and families, and many more who came to us by way of other health care organizations that did not fare as well during Harvey.

Our employees worked tirelessly at patients’ bedsides and calmed families worried about the storm raging outside. Their colleagues set up more than 700 employee cots and connected them with available hotel rooms to make brief moments of rest as comfortable as possible. And team members accustomed to sitting behind desks and behind computers got behind the serving line and dished up hot meals to weary co-workers.

Texas Children’s leaders ran a 24-hour planning command center monitoring weather updates and ensuring essential employee information was constantly communicated. Their decisions and timing on when to bring in employees, when to send them home and when to close and open our flood gates were impeccable, especially in light of the unpredictability of the storm.

Our decades of preparedness and vigilance paid off and didn’t stop once the storm passed. During Hurricane Harvey’s aftermath, we continued to act compassionately, supporting our colleagues on the long road to recovery, a journey that, for many, is ongoing today.

Through employee donations and funding from the Texas Hospital Association, our Employee Financial Assistance Fund administered by the Employee Assistance Program provided more than half a million dollars in cash grants and nearly $75,000 in gift cards to 672 employees affected by the storm. Texas Children’s also established a Harvey My Day Donation Program to provide a way for team members to give as many as 24 hours of their own Harvey-related paid time off to colleagues. In total, employees donated more than 2,500 hours of disaster paid time off to help colleagues attend to their affairs after the storm.

To commemorate the courage, resilience and generous spirit of our people, we have created a special website that takes a look back at the lessons we learned from the storm and the diligent recovery efforts of some of our families. As we prepare for another season, let’s keep them in our prayers and always remember the strength and sturdiness of our one amazing team.

Click here to visit Texas Children’s Hurricane Harvey website

June 28, 2017 | (8) Comments

Our U.S. News & World Report rankings were released yesterday, and I’m proud to say that Texas Children’s again made an impressive showing in this annual survey. Eight of our pediatric subspecialities are ranked in the top 10, and the other two are very close and steadily climbing. Most exciting, however, is that we have again had another specialty rise to the very top spot – Texas Children’s is now ranked No. 1 in the nation in cardiology and heart surgery.

This is pretty amazing, and I’m thrilled to celebrate this tremendous accomplishment with the entire leadership team, staff and employees at Texas Children’s Heart Center. The Heart Center has held the No. 2 spot on the U.S .News list for the past two years and had consistently been ranked among the top pediatric heart programs since the pediatric subspecialty rankings began in 2008. This year, the Heart Center steps into the No. 1 spot, surpassing Boston Children’s Hospital, which had held the top ranking in this subspeciality for the past 19 years.

The Heart Center’s accomplishment is built on a rich history of expert and innovative pediatric heart care, exceptional leadership, partnership and focus on doing what’s best for our patients. Led by the late Drs. Denton Cooley and Dan McNamara, Texas Children’s Hospital started performing heart surgery on children in 1956. Dr. Cooley, a pioneer heart surgeon, and Dr. McNamara, a patriarch of pediatric cardiology, were among the first to demonstrate that small children could safely undergo heart surgery.

Since then, the Heart Center has continued to grow, push the envelope and pave the way to become a highly sought and respected center of excellence. Much as it was in the beginning, the Heart Center today is led and staffed by world-renowned pediatric cardiologists and surgeons: Surgeon-In-Chief and Chief of Congenital Heart Surgery Dr. Charles Fraser Jr., Chief of Cardiology Dr. Daniel Penny, Chief of Cardiovascular Anesthesia Dr. Emad Mossad, Chief of Critical Care Dr. Lara Shekerdemian and Anesthesiologist-In-Chief Dr. Dean Andropoulos. It is because of their leadership that the entire Heart Center team remains dedicated to developing innovative cardiac interventions and surgical treatment options to treat the tens of thousands of children with heart defects who seek our care annually.

Our U.S. News rankings are a testament to the amazing leadership we have here at Texas Children’s. This recognition is not just about any one person being exceptional. This is about each and every member of the team operating at a level that is second to none. You know one of my maxims is “Leadership applies to everyone.” Everyone is a leader at Texas Children’s. This recognition is about the leadership that is demonstrated by everyone from the frontline to the executive team every single day. I know that a big part of our success is due to our culture of exellence, which challenges each of us to be our best, to think creatively and, most importantly, to consistently exceed our patients’ expectations.

Congratulations Texas Children’s Heart Center. We are beyond proud of your accomplishments.

Watch this video to see and hear people’s reactions when they learned about Texas Children’s No. 1 ranking in cardiology and heart surgery.